Owen W's story

28th December 2016

Alarm bells started ringing when baby Owen went droopy and grey. His parents knew something was seriously wrong but didn’t know what. Tests in hospital revealed bacterial meningitis from E coli. Mum Nicola, from Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire, recounts their story here

Owen W

“Owen was 10 days old when we noticed he was making this funny grunting noise. We thought he was just being noisy like his older sister.” 

“I was breast feeding and he was due another feed, but he refused, which was unusual. He also had not wet his nappies but that would relate to not feeding so we thought that's logical. We took him up to bed and he suddenly went droopy and grey in colour.” 

Alarm bells were ringing

“Alarm bells were ringing tenfold. My husband Stuart and I knew there was something wrong, but we had no idea what. We just knew it wasn't right.”

“We bundled him and our two-year-old daughter Isla up. It was 10:30pm. My mum met us at the children's A&E to take our daughter. We rushed Owen inside and I begged the nurse to fix him.“ 

“The paediatric doctor on duty saw him instantly. It was as if they knew. They tried and tried to take blood by poking him with needles. We could hear him scream where they couldn't get any. It was my worst nightmare. My husband stayed with him whilst a nurse took me away as I couldn't deal with it very well. They took a lumbar puncture and did other tests.” 

Devastating news

“After two hours we were up in the children's ward in the hospital. They had the results and they told us the devastating news that our tiny baby boy had meningitis. A rare form of bacterial meningitis from E Coli.” 

“He was instantly put on two types of antibiotics and fluid as he was still refusing feeds.” 

“We had to stay in hospital for seven days. I stayed with him for every hour, hearing the scream of pain when the meningitis was hurting his head and tiny brain. My husband witnessed numerous consultants prod and poke him with needles and cause him bruises and pain.” 

“Meanwhile, my daughter was enjoying her time with grandma, but missing her mummy and daddy. She was only 2 and it was hard for her to understand where I had disappeared to and heart-breaking for me knowing I couldn't see her or explain to her how much we loved her.”

Further tests

“We managed to have meetings with the consultant to get results from further tests to see how Owen was responding to his antibiotics. He was getting better and they arranged for us to go home. However, he still needed another two weeks of antibiotics.“

“Owen was given a line up the leg to just above this belly button so the drugs could be administered. However, his line got blocked as his veins are so tiny. This happened three more times. Finally they inserted a line in his arm that stopped just above his heart.” 

“This seemed to work. Every day at home we had community nurses visit us twice a day to give the drugs and then at 10pm I had to take him back to hospital for his third dose. I was still breastfeeding which meant I had to be there whilst my husband stayed with our daughter.”

“Owen is now 19 weeks old! He has had ultrasounds and MRI scans. The results are good. He however is still under consultancy as they have no idea how he contracted the meningitis in the first place. That moment standing in that room hearing the words 'I'm sorry or tell you, Owen has got meningitis' will live with me forever!”